Saturday, May 29, 2010

Monday, May 17, 2010

More exclusive video! Chris Montez and Sid Jacobs perform 'All of Me' at the Pacific Palisades Film Festival

Thanks to the wonders of the Flip video camera, there's another clip of Chris Montez and Sid Jacobs performing at the Pacific Palisades Film Festival on Saturday night, following the hit outdoor preview screening of Frozen Pictures' El Viaje Musical de Ezekiel Montanez: The Chris Montez Story. Here, the Sixties pop icon and the master jazz guitarist, composer, instructor and recording artist work their magic on All of Me.

In the words of Chris Montez: "Life is fun, and fun is life."

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Exclusive video! Chris Montez's triumph at the Pacific Palisades Film Festival

A crowd-pleasing screening of The Chris Montez Story, followed by an intimate live concert by the Sixties pop icon himself, made for a rousing close to the seventh annual Pacific Palisades Film Festival Saturday night.

The spectacular success of the event where Sunset Boulevard meets the Pacific, coming on the heels of an historic, emotional opening night in which actress Frances Fisher was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award, was even more impressive coming after a year of financial and scheduling uncertainties that had founder Bob Sharka considering canceling this year's celebration of young filmmakers and veteran stars.

Saturday's cocktail party and outdoor screening took place at a magnificent private home in the exclusive Huntington Palisades. The program began with the short film A .45 at 50th, a surprisingly funny recounting of actor James Cromwell's experience with the Black Panther Party, followed by a never-seen 45-minute working cut of El Viaje Musical de Ezekiel Montanez: The Chris Montez Story from our pals at Frozen Pictures. To most of the audience, the film served as an introduction to an artist whose influence on and connection to the greatest names in pop music has not been fully recognized, and most on the crowd were singing along with Chris Montez by the time the credits rolled.

Then the crowd moved inside to a spacious living room for an intimate fireside concert by the film;s star and his guitar teacher, acclaimed jazz guitarist Sid Jacobs. The duo loosened up with a sophisticated, swinging solo-filled version of Montez's signature hit Call Me, then swung into hip readings of standards like All of Me and solo instrumentals by the virtuoso Jacobs that included a showstopping version of Over the Rainbow that turned into a tour de force medley from The Wizard of Oz.

Will Larry G Jones fill Danny Gans' shoes?

Can Larry G Jones fill Danny Gans' signature black-and-white spectator shoes?

The world is about to find out as one of the many musical impressionists influenced by the late Las Vegas superstar is about to confront the legend head-on with his own one-man comic singing impressionist show on the Las Vegas Strip-- produced by Gans' close friend, collaborator and drummer.

We told you about musical impressionist Larry G Jones back in January, when he made a splash with a well-timed Tiger Woods parody. while working the Royal Resort Hotel just off the Strip. Now it's been announced that Jones will be moving to Planet Hollywood's Harmon Theatre on June 8th.

"This fast-paced fun filled show features an all-star celebrity cast of rapid-fire voice impressions including many of Las Vegas' biggest headliners. Cher, Elton John, Neil Diamond, Elvis, The Phantom of the Opera, and The Rat Pack are a part of the 75 plus voices Larry performs in each show. When you throw a few comedians, Hollywood celebrities, and presidential voices in the mix, there is enough comedy and music to appeal to just about everyone."

The show is produced by Raphael Erardy, who was Gans' drummer and confidante for 20 years, until Gans' tragic and untimely death at 52 on May 1, 2009.

The Larry G Jones - Comic Singing Impressionist show opens June 8th at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino's Harmon Theater, 3663 S. Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109. The Harmon Theater entrance is located next to Krave Nightclub on the corner of the Las Vegas Blvd. & Harmon Ave. Tickets for the 7pm show will be $47.97 for general admission and VIP/Open bar tickets are available for $67.97. Shows will be nightly except for Sunday and Thursday. For show tickets call 702-836-0830 or book online at LarryGJones.com.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Saturday night: Pacific Palisades Film Festival presents Chris Montez movie preview and performance

The seventh annual Pacific Palisades Film Festival got its seventh annual off to a star-studded start last night with a lifetime achievement award for acclaimed actress and former resident Frances Fisher, and moves forard tomorrow with a screening of the never-seen expanded preview of El Viaje Musical de Ezekiel Montanez: The Chris Montez Story along with a rare, intimate performance by Montez himself.

Bob Sharka kicks off the 7th annual Pacific Palisades Film Festival

Frances Fisher accepts her Lifetime Achievement Award

The opening night event took place outdoors at a bluffside mansion overlooking the Pacific Ocean, and featured tributes from Fisher's acting coaches and Actors Studio colleagues, including Renee Taylor. Festival founder Bob Sharka hosted and emceed the event, as he will the Montez evening which begins at 6:30 pm at another residence nearby.

Tickets for the outdoor screening, cocktail party and Chris Montez performance can be found at the Friends of Film website.

The film about the legendary, influential and many-faceted Mexican-American musician, rock legend and pop star from Hawthorne, California, has been in production over the past year by our pals at Frozen Pictures.

The film preview will be screened outdoors at a home on Toyopa Drive in The Palisades. The evening kicks off at 6:30 p.m.

Ticket information for the Saturday, May 15th event can be found at the Friends of Film website.

The Frozen team opened last year's Palisades film fest with their Neil Innes musical comedy, The Seventh Python, which is set to be released by The Little Film Company.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Las Vegas Weekly celebrates Danny Gans' special friend Alicia Jacobs-- but doesn't get into that 4 a.m. phone call or all those texts he'd sent her

The Las Vegas Weekly and its editor Scott Dickensheets have rolled out another cover story on a major figure in the Danny Gans case. Following up on last week's confessions from Las Vegas blogger, New York Times stringer, Gay Vegas author, concert promoter and comp queen Steve Friess, comes a laudatory profile of controversial beauty queen-turned-television entertainment reporter Alicia Jacobs.

Jacobs was a close personal friend of Gans, and on May 1, 2009, the the first member of the media to learn of Gans' death, getting a 4 a.m. phone call from Gans' manager Chip Lightman. The article touches upon the incident without exploring the details of the morning or her relationship with the musical impressionist:

"Jacobs defends her reporting of Gans’ death last year. The two were genuinely close. They dined together and, sharing an interest in physical fitness, worked out together. Jacobs was the first journalist contacted by Gans’ manager, Chip Lightman, after he learned of Gans’ death.

"Danny Gans and Alicia Jacobs became close friends during her career in Vegas. Jacobs sobbed through her segment announcing Gans had died and spoke emotionally of their friendship. It was a unique moment in broadcast news for the emotion displayed on-air by the reporter. Local media critics pounced.

“'I have thought about that and re-lived it many, many times in my head. Honest to God, I would not have done anything differently,' says Jacobs. 'I thought I could get through the story. But I remember seeing b-roll of Danny on one of the monitors, singing and dancing, and losing it. To this day I don’t believe he is gone … So, yes, I got a little emotional on the air. You know what? It was real. We are real. Sometimes it’s okay to be real on the air. People cry, hurt and feel pain. I wouldn’t change it.'”

"But what about--?" No, there is no follow-up.

The profile, From Beauty Queen to Extra: The Journey of LV's Top Celebrity Broadcaster, is written by Las Vegas Sun columnist John Katsilometes, a journalist who touched on Gans' rumoured drug use in his initial story about Gans' sudden passing at 52 (the powerful opiate Dilaudid would be named as a cause), but who backed off immediately along with the rest of the Las Vegas media pack. Perhaps that's why it celebrates Jacobs' role as a correspondent on the syndicated television infotainment show, Extra, and is full of sympathetic, humanizing notes about her adoption, disfiguring car crash and career-threatening love of animals, while not pressing her on the issue for which she's gained the most notoriety.

An accompanying photo of Jacobs as "Mrs. United States," however, does reveal that she is not a natural blonde.

Those texts? Click here to read all about them.

And click here to read Kat's fascinating article. Even with his hands tied, he's a great entertainment writer.

Meanwhile, we look forward to next week's cover story on Chip Lightman.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Preview of The Chris Montez Story gets outdoor screening at the Pacific Palisades Film Festival this Saturday, May 15th

A new, expanded, special preview of El Viaje Musical de Ezekiel Montanez: The Chris Montez Story, the nonfiction musical feature film from our pals at Frozen Pictures, will be featured Saturday night at the Pacific Palisades Film Festival off Sunset Boulevard.

Making the outdoor screening and cocktail party even more special and historic will be a special, intimate performance by Chris Montez.

The film about the legendary, influential and many-faceted Mexican-American musician from Hawthorne, California, has been in production over the past year, and in an unlikely turn of events, a preview section, devoted to Montez's time headlining the Beatles' first national tour of England amid the first rumblings Beatlemania, has proven to be a hit with screenings at The Fest for Beatles Fans in Chicago and New Jersey, and at the prestigious Paso Robles Digital Film Festival in California.

This latest preview contains fresh Montez performances as well as appearances by music legends including Tommy Roe, Andrew Loog Oldham (manager and producer of The Rolling Stones) and Herb Alpert (above).

The film preview will be screened outdoors at a home on Toyopa Drive in The Palisades. The evening kicks off at 6:30 p.m.

Ticket information for the Saturday, May 15th event can be found at the Friends of Film website.

The Frozen team opened last year's Palisades film fest with their Neil Innes musical comedy, The Seventh Python, which is set to be released by The Little Film Company.

The Friesster tweets about his uncle

This Mother's Day Twitter post shows that Las Vegas blogger, New York Times stringer, Gay Vegas author, concert promoter and comp queen Steve "Friesster" Friess is having a fine old time continuing to milk the publicity and notoriety he received from his self-aggrandizing Las Vegas Weekly cover story about turning in a family member (albeit a black sheep) who was a fugitive on a kiddie porn rap.

Friday, May 07, 2010

The Friesster goes nuts again!

Oh, that silly goose Steve Friess. Tabloid Baby's 2009 Journalist of The Year is having a hissy fit and throwing around words like "slander" once again because we reported on his very controversial Las Vegas Weekly cover story, A Snitch in the Family, in which he explains why he crossed journalistic and familial lines to help US Marshals snare his uncle, who'd fled from a plea bargain and sentencing on Internet kiddie porn charges.

In response, Steve Friess, stringer reporter for The New York Times and other national periodicals (as well as Las Vegas blogger, Gay Vegas author, concert promoter and comp queen), calls us:

"Pro-child porn"... "Sad"... "Treacherous"... "Sick"... and "Desperate for attention"... while even more disturbingly, refers to himself as "The Friesster."

As we reported earlier this afternoon, this arrest escapade was only Friess's latest ethical quandary of the past year, and only the latest that he made public by using the Las Vegas Weekly to explain himself. We did not pass judgment on Steve's pickle. In fact, we posted a link to the story and suggested to our readers: "You be the judge."

Within minutes, however, the hysterical "Friesster" posted an anonymous comment on our site, in which he congratulated himself for his action.

Then he wrote a second comment, which he deleted.

And then he sent an email to our office:

"So you're pro-child porn now! How thrilling for you!

"Also, I own the copyright on the image you've used. Please remove immediately. Then you can lie about being threatened to be shut down again when, of course, I'm simply suggesting that you not steal. If anything you said was of consequence, I'd rebut your lies, but in a full year of attacks, not a single person in any serious manner has ever noticed or cared what you say. God, you're so sad.


"P.S. Yes I deleted my own comment from your blog. I did it because I have had a long-standing policy of not reading or commenting on your treacherous site of slander. I just couldn't believe anyone would attack for something like this, so I had to click. Then I realized: I don't need to react to show how sick and desperate for attention this "person" is. Everyone already knows. Frown face!"

This is The Friesster's deleted comment (which he'd posted inadvertently under the name of his blog):

"So you're pro-child porn? Kinda undermines ur bitching at tmz but oh well! Bravo to the friesster! Cross what line? Journalists aren't above the law. Are you saying you would harbor a porn pusher?"

Frown face? Now really, was there anything we'd written that would warrant such an attack? Remember, this is a reporter for The New York Times, a man who's made himself a public figure by airing his laundry across the Internet while toeing the line that "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas."

Would a trusted, objective reporter suggest someone is "pro-child porn" for reporting a story that he himself promoted on his blog (in a post that begins with the line, "I lied to you people a couple of weeks ago...")? Oh, right. He called us much worse for daring to ask questions about the death of Danny Gans.

Steve Friess snitches and turns in his uncle

Remember Steve Friess?

He's the Las Vegas blogger, New York Times stringer, Gay Vegas author, concert promoter and comp queen whom we first encountered a little over a year ago when we emailed him to ask why his colleagues were not investigating the recent, mysterious death of local superstar Danny Gans and he responded by going on line and attacking us in a public obscene rant. In the months to follow, he led a campaign to stop our investigation, helped spread disinformation about Gans' death, called us "homophobes" for criticizing him (all the while running a photo on his blogsite showing him lifting former Hefner girl Holly Madison in an over-the-threshold pose while in his second unofficial marriage to a man-- a producer at the local NBC affiliate), attempted to have our site shut down after we posted his photo (we were forced to use approximations), wrote that Michael Jackson's death was the best thing to happen to his music and then, while covering the investigation into Jacko's death for the New York Times, capitalized on the demise by promoting a "tribute" concert to his music-- all the while acting as a mouthpiece for casino mogul and Danny Gans employer Steve Wynn and reviewing musical acts despite a severe hearing impairment-- a morass of conflicts of interest that led him to represent all that was wrong with the lazy, corrupt media of Sin City and led us to name him Tabloid Baby's 2009 Journalist of The Year.

Now, the go-to guy for national media looking for Vegas stories who decides what Vegas events are national news and what are not (see Danny Gans) and uses his column in the Las Vegas Weekly to explain away his transgressions and conflicts, writes this week that he crossed the line again when he helped US Marshals arrest a family member "who could easily pass as my 25-years-older twin brother" and who was on the run to avoid a court plea and sentencing in an Internet kiddie porn case.

Read all about it. You be the judge.


4 pm: Steve Friess reads Tabloid Baby! It appears that he posted a comment on our story-- then changed his mind and deleted it. Please, Steve, have your say! We know you're not shy. Your fellow Tabloid Baby fans want to hear from you!

(And we're not editorializing in referring to Friess as a "snitch." That's the word they use on the Las Vegas Weekly cover.)

Gans family thanks us for remembering

The family of Las Vegas superstar Danny Gans has thanked Tabloid Baby.com for remembering the first anniversary of his sad, untimely and mysterious passing on May 1st.

We take no satisfaction in the knowledge that we were the only news organization to mark the approach and date of this tragic milestone. There was no surprise that the Las Vegas media and its flamboyant leading figures deliberately avoided mention of the anniversary. They were exposed over the past twelve month with their embarrassing, shameful and deliberate refusal to investigate the circumstances that led to the musical impressionist's death.

Gans 'widow and children, however, made special mention this week on the revamped and very much alive official Danny Gans website, thanking us and fans around the world for our acknowledgment:

The family is truly touched by your kind emails, blogs and notes that have been received from around the world remembering Danny and supporting us at this time. Our day was spent with family and a few friends sharing memories of Danny, yet mindful of the magnitude of our loss and to that of his fans everywhere.We thank you for your continued support and prayers.

Please keep in touch.

-Julie, Amy, Andrew & Emily Gans

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Missing man Patrick McDermott was on Olivia Newton-John's payroll

Still no proof-of-life photo of Olivia Newton-John's missing boyfriend Patrick Kim McDermott, but Tabloid Baby pal Dylan Howard, the international investigative reporter who’s broken a lot of news in the case that we kept alive, has new details from the official Coast Guard report into his disappearance at sea five years ago-- including the fact that McDermott was on the singer’s payroll.

Among the other new information that was published in Australia's New Idea magazine and around the world:

* McDermott purchased a .357 magnum three months before he disappeared

* Someone tried to access his computer between the time he vanished and when it was seized;

* A file from his computer contained information on how to fake an identity;

* He attempted suicide by pills at 17;

* He was drowning in debt and failing to meet child support;

* He had $755.01 in savings and $19,004.56 in credit card debt and was $8,000 behind in child support payments;

* He'd destroyed all his emails, including correspondence from Newtown-John;

* Started a company called Twice Alive Productions in 2003.

The investigation focuses on McDermott's nine-year relationship with the Newton-John, who never reported him missing after he vanished from a fishing boat on June 30, 2005. Newton-John failed to alert the media, whoch could have helped in a missing persons search, and it was seven weeks before a reporter noticed the name and Newton-John connection and broke the news.

Was Newton-John aware of his scheme? The report says she told investigators she wasn't aware of McDermott's financial straits, and that the last time she saw him was in mid-June, before she left on a trip to Australia (where she was when he disappeared). She said he'd come to her home to end their on-off relationship once again.

The report notes "official sightings" of McDermott in Malibu, Long Beach and San Luis Obispo, California, Calgary Canada, and Todos Santo, La Paz, Sayulita and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

The report says the US Coast Guard has labelled the McDermott probe a "deadbeat parent” case, which means the US State Department “remains on the lookout, but not actively searching for someone who has absconded from life’s responsibilities.”

Last month, a private eye working for NBC's tabloid show Dateline claimed to have "proof" that McDermott is alive and well in Baja Mexico (the destination of his fishing charter), but asked everyone to take his word for it until he writes a book.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Keepers of Danny Gans' secrets gather

The Las Vegas Strip did not dim its lights to mark the first anniversary of the passing of the man who was the entertainment and gambling mecca's greatest homegrown superstar, but there were some who took time to remember the life and legacy of Danny Gans.

Norm Clarke tells us that friends and colleagues of the late musical impressionist gathered yesterday afternoon at his grave at Palm Memorial Park on Eastern Avenue. About a dozen people attended the 2 p.m. tribute, and it is that story-shifting inner circle, the ones who hold the secrets of his life and death, whose names stand out. Among them:

Chip Lightman, his longtime manager who says he received a phone call from Gans' wife Julie in the early hours of May 1, 2009, telling him that Gans had died hours earlier;

...Alicia Jacobs, the beauty queen-turned-television entertainment reporter for local station KVBC-TV, who touted her close friendship with Gans and was the first person Lightman notified of the death that morning (around the same time that paramedics arrived at Gans' Henderson estate);

...R.G. Ryan, who collaborated on Gans' posthumous autobiography, The Voices In My Head, and who's refused to comment on the controversy regarding the timeline of Gans' demise or the drug use that led to it; his assistants and members of his band and crew.

Gans' wife and family packed up and moved from Las Vegas to La CaƱada Flintridge, California, outside Los Angeles shortly after his death, which occurred about three months after he opened at Steve Wynn's Wynn Las Vegas hotel and casino.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Danny Gans died one year ago today

It was a year ago today that the world learned of the death of Las Vegas musical impressionist, Strip superstar and uniquely American show business legend Danny Gans. One year later, the feature-length articles on the unexplored areas of his life and the unanswered and uninvestigated aspects of his death that more than one Las Vegas journalist had promised would be written have yet to materialize. And neither of the two daily newspapers has posted any mention of the tragic anniversary on its website.

Read our coverage here.

And click here to visit the official Danny Gans website, which includes performance footage and other Gans, including his favorite recipes, cooked by his wife Julie, who reported his death at age 52 in his bedroom in the early hours of May 1, 2009, to police.

The 911 call

Danny Gans (Oct. 25, 1956 - May 1, 2009)